New BBC1 controller named

Peter Fincham, the outgoing chief executive officer of Talkback Thames, was today announced as the new controller of BBC1.

Peter Fincham, the outgoing chief executive officer of Talkback Thames, was today announced as the new controller of BBC1.

He replaces Lorraine Heggessey in the post, one of the biggest in broadcasting.

Mr Fincham said: "The BBC is going through big changes, but BBC1 remains its flagship channel and reinterpreting and reinvigorating it for new audiences is about as exciting a challenge as it gets."

Mr Fincham is a surprise name for the post and his appointment will be a job swap, with Ms Heggessey going to Talkback Thames.

Mr Fincham said: "I grew up watching BBC1 and the first programmes I made as an independent producer were for BBC1, so it's enormously flattering to be asked to take over as channel controller from Lorraine Heggessey.

"I am used to being responsible for a wide range of programmes and BBC1 stands for range, quality and integrity. It also has a unique breadth of appeal."

Talkback Thames is responsible for shows such as Da Ali G Show, I'm Alan Partridge, The Bill and Pop Idol.

The independent production company has made various programmes for the BBC including They Think It's All Over, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and the Bafta-award winning drama The Lost Prince.

Mr Fincham's appointment will raise eyebrows because he has never worked for the BBC before.

He said: "I once applied for a job as a researcher on The Late, Late Breakfast Show and was turned down, so it's taken me 20 years to get a job at the BBC - but what a job!"

Mr Fincham's name had been rarely mentioned in connection with the BBC1 job and his appointment has surprised many.

The BBC's head of daytime, Alison Sharman, and head of entertainment commissioning Jane Lush were considered the frontrunners.

Former BBC2 controller Jane Root and UKTV boss John Keeling had also been linked with the job.

But announcing his appointment, BBC director of television Jana Bennett said: "If there are maybe 10 people who have shaped television over the last decade, Peter is one of them.

"He has a formidable track record in delivering original and outstanding programmes across a range of modern public service genres, and the knack of making them appeal to broad audiences."

With Talkback Thames shows such as Jamie's Kitchen, X Factor and The Lost Prince on his CV, Mr Fincham has been involved in "some of the most respected and acclaimed programming of recent times", she said.

"Peter has run an incredibly successful business but has done it along highly creative lines, and he has a strong grasp of the importance of creativity in the competitive environment of broadcasting.

"He is known as someone who attracts the best talent, supports the best ideas and then backs them with a tenacious passion.

"I am looking forward to welcoming him as part of BBC Television."

At a press conference to announce his appointment, Mr Fincham was asked whether he would chase ratings.

He said: "I certainly want to chase success. BBC1 needs to be a successful channel.

"I think the way that we define success, maybe that has changed a bit.

"I think that we are moving into an era where we probably have a more sophisticated way of looking at success than looking over our shoulders at rivals then comparing our ratings on a daily basis."

He described BBC1 as "an important part of the BBC and our national life".

He added: "I'm of that generation that is old enough to remember a world when there was only the BBC to watch and in our house BBC was the default setting. I grew up with BBC1 and cowered behind the sofa when Dr Who was on."

It was great that his name was being announced just a few days before the Time Lord returns to the small screen, he added.

BBC1 still had a huge role to play despite the rise of a multitude of digital channels, he said: "I don't think BBC1 gets less relevant and important. I think it gets more so. The main terrestrial channels that offer a full and varied menu of programmes become the rarer beast."

Mr Fincham said he left Talkback Thames because he was looking for "a new challenge and new adventure".

He added: "That explains why I'm here. I can't think of a bigger challenge than taking over as controller of BBC1 or a bigger adventure."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Database Executive - Leading Events Marketing Company - London

£23000 - £25000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Databas...

Recruitment Genius: Publishing Assistant

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Digital Account Exec ...

Guru Careers: Print Project Manager

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A Print Project Manager is needed to join one...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living